While the coastal city of Gokarna will give you the much required beach therapy, The fort of Mirjan will enlighten you about the historical story of the then ‘Pepper Queen’ i.e. Queen Chennabhairadevi. The Pepper queen as they fondly call her was the ruler of Mirjan fort for almost 5 decades under the Vijayanagara Empire. The ports namely Mirjan, Karwar, Ankola etc. came directly under her rule from where she shipped the vital produce of the region, i.e. Pepper to different parts of the globe. During her rule, Mirjan had developed to be a rich & important spice trading port due to its proximity to the sea & due to the favourable climate in the area for growing pepper. The Queen handled all the trade from Mirjan fort which was also her abode. Since the region was extremely popular for its pepper, the Queen was titled by the Portuguese as ‘Rainha de Pimenta’ which when literally translated means ‘The Pepper Queen’.
Built in the 16th century, the ancient architecture of the fort is truly worth admiring. The entire structure spread across 4 hectares of land is built out of laterite stones. This fort has multiple levels within itself and also has a large network of interconnected wells.
HOW TO REACH?
Located at a distance of 13 km from Kumta, 25 km from Gokarna, 30 km from Honavar, 60 km from Karwar and 55 km from Murudeshwar (All km approx), Mirjan fort makes for a great half day trip from this city. The best way to reach this fort is by roadways. You can either hire an autorickshaw for this trip or catch a local bus to Mirjan from Gokarna. In case you opt for an auto, bargain before hiring one.
Of course you may also drive down to the fort in your own personal vehicle and park for free at the ample parking space available at the entrance! However, no signboards are put up for direction to this fort hence using google maps is highly recommended to reach here. The app shows the correct directions & will take you straight at the entrance of the fort without any hassle.
TIMINGS, ENTRANCE CHARGES & OTHER IMPORTANT INFO:
1) All travellers, especially those following a strict budget, will rejoice at the thought of free entrance to the fort. Yes! it’s free to enter & explore this historical fort as per your convenience. No guards are available at the entrance or inside the fort.
2) The fort is usually open from 08.00 AM to 06.00 PM everyday. However I’d suggest you to check its timings on public holidays before heading here. People generally spend 1-1.5 hours exploring the fort & its surroundings.
3) Near the entrance of the fort you will find only 1 small stall selling lemon juice, water & some light snacks etc.
4) Apart from that there are no washroom(s)/toilet(s) inside or outside the fort premises.
5) Since the fort is located on the ground level with hardly few steps to climb, it easy even for senior citizens to come & explore this historical monument. However this historical site is not wheelchair accessible due to rocky roads & few steps.
If you are into history then you would absolutely love the fort. Although in ruins, the fort has been restored and regularly maintained by the authorities. It’s amazing to witness a historical fort at such close proximity to the beaches and I’d recommend every traveler to visit the fort during their time in Gokarna. There are hardly any visitors/explorers of this fort thus making it an offbeat destination in Karnataka, India and makes for a great day trip from Gokarna.
Have you been here? Let me know what you think!
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